Traditional Authorities in the Banda and Tain Districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region have reaffirmed their commitment to fight against child marriage in the two areas.
Chiefs and Queens have attributed child marriage, which is rife in the two Districts, to teenage pregnancy and traditional practices.
At a news conference in Sunyani, the traditional rulers commended Action Aid Ghana, (AAG), a non-governmental organisation and its partners for the continuous efforts to help bring the practice under control.
They indicated that the intensified public education undertaken by AAG in the two areas was making significant impact in curbing child marriage in the communities.
Nana Mua Afrakomaa, the Bekumhemaa of Nsawkaw in the Tain District, called for the re-introduction of puberty rites as a means to preserve the virginity of adolescent girls.
She noted that child marriage continued to affect the proper upbringing and development of young girls and impeded girl-child education in the area.
Nana Sie Manaa, the Chief of Sabea in the Banda District, observed it required the contributions of traditional rulers to fight and halt the practice in the two Districts.
He said with the support of AAG, eight victims of child marriage in the Banda District had been rescued and enrolled in basic schools.
Nana Manaa expressed concern about high rate of teenage pregnancy in the area and called for intensified sex education among the adolescents in the area.
Nana Ligbi Wlotie II, the Chief of Banda Boase, noted that broken home was a major contributory factor to incidence of teenage pregnancy.
He expressed worry that some parents in the area shirked their responsibility towards the upbringing of girls.
Nana Wlotie II explained that because some parents failed to provide girls with some basic needs, the victims also looked elsewhere for support towards their upkeeps.
Nana Abenaa Boatemaa, the Paramount Queen of Odumase number one in the Sunyani West District who presided, urged parents to show keen interest in the education of their children, especially girls.
She advised parents to draw their girls closer to themselves, identify and provide their basic needs.
Ms Melody Azinim, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Programmes Manager of the AAG, said 59.8 per cent of girls in the region married before 18 years.
This, she observed, was mostly due to teenage pregnancy.
Ms. Azinim said the issue of child marriage in the region pushed her NGO to seek support from the UNICEF to undertake a two-year project to end the practice.
She said the project started in 2015 and its implementation had yielded positive outcome in the fight against the practice.
Nana Kwame Afram Denkyira, the Programme Officer of AAG, said child marriage was a serious offence and advised the public to support in the effort to prevent it.
He said the Children’s Act and the UN Convention on the Right of the Child frowned on child marriage and warned that perpetrators would be prosecuted. GNA